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Inch Beach in County Cork: The Complete Guide

Sand shark on Inch Beach in East Cork.
Kids and adults alike can have hours of fun in the sand on Inch Beach, as you can see from this sand shark! (Photo.

Inch Beach Cork Ireland

Inch Beach is a sandy strand located about 50 minutes from Cork City, not far from Midleton and the town of Whitegate. 

This popular beach is one of the closest surfing spots to Cork City and definitely ranks as one of the best East Cork beaches.

Two small streams cross the beach. On the headland side, there are rocky sections interspersed with sandy sections. 

These rocks can offer some protection against the wind on a blustery day.

Depending on the time of year and tidal conditions, there can be some seaweed on the beach. 

This beach, which is also known as Inch Strand, has been awarded the Green Coast Award, which is only bestowed on beaches with very high environmental standards, including excellent water quality and stunning unspoilt natural setting. 

Inch Beach East Cork Tip: If you search for the term Inch beach Ireland, you may be confused by the results that Google provides. Inch Beach Cork should not be confused with the other famous beach with the same name in County Kerry. 

Inch Beach Dingle is another stunning beach with a long strand and epic views of both the Dingle Peninsula and Iveragh Peninsula. (It is also a well known surfing location.) 

Inch Beach Highlights

People enjoying Inch Beach in summer time.
Inch Beach is great for families. (Photo:

The gently sloping, sandy beach is a favorite with families. There is plenty of soft sand, as well as rocky outcrops with pools filled with marine wildlife to explore.

The beach is used for water sport activities such as swimming, surfing and bodyboarding. It is a particularly popular surfing destination. Surfing lessons and gear rental are available at the beach. 

If you feel like stretching your legs a bit, then head for a walk out the headland in the direction of the old Power Head Lighthouse

What to do on Inch Beach?

Inch Beach Walk

Inch Beach is a superb location to enjoy the scenic surroundings throughout the year. It is one of the beaches near Cork City.

The majority of its visitors to the beach are during the summer, especially in the evenings as it is within easy reach of Cork City and Midleton. It is good to know that a visit to this beach is very enjoyable in every season. 

Even in winter, when the conditions are a little wilder it is perfect for a refreshing beach walk.  

When the tide is out, it is possible to stroll along the lower parts of the beach and explore the rockier sections or go for a little paddle in the gently lapping waves on the shore. 

Inch Beach Surfing Cork 

A surf board in the sand at sunset on a beach.
Surfing is a popular activity at Inch Beach. (Photo: netfalls via Depositphotos)

Throughout the year Inch Beach gets fairly consistent surf. The waves tend to be small and are good for beginners. 

This beach is not a particularly busy one for surfers. 

If you want to time your surf for the best conditions, opt for when the wind is from the north east direction and the swell is from the south. 

While many people bring their own surfing gear, it is also possible to rent gear and take lessons or attend summer camps at the Swell Surf School that operates on the beach during the summer.

Inch Beach Swimming

Swimming is not officially advised for this location and there are no lifeguards stationed here during the summer (or other times of the year). 

There are official signs in place at the beach warning people about rip currents in the area and recommending other nearby beaches that have lifeguards in place during the summer bathing season months. 

Staying safe in the water should be the highest priority, so depending on the weather and tidal conditions, as well as your own proficiency, it is not always safe to enter the water. More safety guidance related to swimming in Ireland is available here.  

Inch Strand Cork FAQ

Where is Inch Beach?

Inch Beach is located about a 10 minute drive from Whitegate in East Cork. (The Midleton to Inch Beach Cork drive takes roughly 20 minutes).

The view from the beach looks out on Powerhead Bay and all the way across the entrance to Cork Harbour to the area around Myrtleville Beach (probably the nearest Beach to Cork City).

Lahard is the town land that ecompasses the beach and Powers Head Area. 

On the opposite side of the beach to the rocky outcrops, the townland is called Ballintra East. Some maps might refer to this area by the Ballintra townland name.

Inch Beach Directions – How do I get there?

Distance from Cork City: 39 km or 24 miles

Cork to Inch Beach Cork Drive Time: 40 minutes

If traveling to Inch Beach from Cork, it is best to head towards Midleton (along the N25) and turn off onto the R630. 

There is a Y junction that has a sign for Ballinrostig and a brown tourist info sign for Inch Beach. 

It is best to consult a road map or Google from here, because there are plenty of side roads that direct off this route and it is easy to get lost. 

See the Inch beach Cork directions in the map below. 

Google Map of the Cork City to Inch Beach directions.

Is it possible to reach Inch Beach by public transport?

No. Inch Beach is a little off the beaten track and not possible to reach with public transport. 

What is Inch Beach parking like?

There are two car parks at Inch Beach, one at either side of the beach. Both are small and do not fit a lot of cars.

The car park on the western side of the beach is the larger one.

These parking facilities fill up quickly on busy days and then people resort to parking along the roadside. 

Please be sure not to block the parking spaces for emergency vehicles or any of the entrances to the residences at the beach.

Are there public toilets at Inch Beach?

No, there are no toilet facilities at Inch Beach in County Cork. 

What facilities are at Inch Beach?

Inch Beach with the tide out on a beautiful morning.
Inch Beach with the tide out on a beautiful morning. (Photo: Jakub Wojciechowski via Shutterstock)

Inch Beach has very limited facilities. At this location you can enjoy the beach, without many added extras.  

No lifeguards are on duty at this beach during the summer bathing season. There is at least one lifebuoy on the beach. 

There are also no showers, toilets or changing facilities at this location. 

If no waste bins are available, please bring all of your rubbish home with you. Keeping the beach clean and in good condition is everyone’s responsibility.

People with mobility issues should be aware that there is no ramp or equivalent disability access to the beach. The car park lead directly to the beach.

Can you swim at Inch Beach Cork?

It is not officially recommended to swim at Inch Beach (although many people do). 

The area is known for rip currents and there are no lifeguards on duty at this location during the summer. 

What is the water quality at Inch Beach?

Inch Beach typically has very clean water and is often assigned the “Excellent”  water quality status.

Regular water quality testing during the summer months is conducted at Inch Beach. 

The reports of the summer bathing quality can be found here

Inch Beach Cork Tide Times

Rocky shoreline at one side of Inch Beach.
Rocky shoreline at one side of Inch Beach. (Photo: Cathrine Jones via Shutterstock)

The tidal information for Inch Beach can be found via the Environmental Protection Agency website. 

If you are looking for more information about surfing, then check Magicseaweed or the Surf Forecast

Inch Beach Cork Weather Information

Information about the general weather in the Cork region can be found via Met Éireann

Are dogs allowed on Inch Beach?

Dogs on leashes are permitted on Inch Beach. Please ensure to clean up any dog waste to ensure the beach stays clean and enjoyable for all beach-goers. 

Places to Stay near Inch Beach Whitegate

Inch Beach Cork Camping

If you are looking for accommodation that is a little bit special and different, the nearby Inch Hideaway Eco Camping offers a variety of differently furnished cosy yurts and a converted wagon. 

This a great option if several families are meeting up together, or if you fancy some relaxing chill time in a location close to the beach. 

Inch Beach Midleton Accommodation

An Stór Townhouse in Midleton is a good base to explore Inch Beach and the surrounding East Cork (which is in our opinion very underrated!).

This accommodation provides several en-suite rooms, as well as one studio apartment, which is suitable for a family. Breakfast is also available at this location. 

Trabolgan Holiday Village is a holiday center with different types of activities both indoor and outdoor for all the family. 

They offer a range of self catering accommodation to suit different size groups.

The drive from Trabolgan to Inch Beach Cork drive takes about 15 minutes. 

Things to do near Inch Beach

Walk out to the Power Head Lighthouse

There is a long, but easy going Inch Beach Cliff walk along the road to the Power Head lighthouse. 

It is well worth taking this stroll on a clear sunny day as the views of the Cork coastline are very impressive!

As this is private farm land, dogs are not allowed. Please respect the wishes of the landowner. 

Visit Midleton, County Cork

"Kindered Spirits", the giant stainless steel feather sculpture in Bailick Park Midleton.
Kindered Spirits, the stainless steel feather sculpture in Bailick Park Midleton in memory of the Native American Choctaw People who send money to support the Irish during the Great Famine. (Photo:

The nearby town of Midleton is a bustling center of activity. 

Known for its Farmer Market that takes place every Saturday and specializing in selling local products from fruit and vegetables and meat, to tasty pizzas and food to go. It is definitely a town to check out. 

If you fancy tasting or even learning about Jameson Whiskey, this is also the place to visit. Tours of the Jameson Distillery in Midleton are available daily. Various different tours and tasting experiences are available. To find out more visit the distillery website

Entrance to Jameson Distillery in Midleton, Cork.
Entrance to Jameson Distillery in Midleton, Cork. (Photo:

Take a cooking course at Ballymaloe Farm

Ballymaloe Farm in East Cork is known for its culinary delights not only in its restaurant, but also the cooking school. 

They offer a wide range of cooking courses from half day sessions to ones that take several weeks. 

Why not treat yourself and enroll in one of the courses that are available at the prestigious cookery school. 

Best Beaches in Cork

View of Inchydoney Beach near Clonakilty in West Cork on a cloudy day.
View of Inchydoney Beach near Clonakilty in West Cork. (Photo: 02konon via Depositphotos)

Inch Beach is just one of many beaches scattered along the East Cork coastline. 

The beaches around Youghal are some more great ones in the nearby area. 

In fact, the beaches Cork offers are very often family friendly. 

Find out about some other ones mentioned in our selection of some of the Beaches in Cork Guide. This includes beaches near Cork City, as well as some gorgeous West Cork beaches and some of the East Cork beach favorites. 

For those who would like to discover some beaches a little further afield, why not discover Garretstown Beach, which is another surfing spot, or some more Beaches in the Kinsale Area

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